Saturday, 03 March 2012 15:22

Report: New Orleans Saints GM Loomis lied To Benson, NFL about Bounty Program

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saints-pack2New Orleans Saints GM Mickey Loomis got caught lying both to his team owner Tom Benson and the NFL office in the league's investigation of the Saints' bounty program.

According to Loomis reportedly was asked about the Saints' bounties in 2010 and denied knowing anything about it in what is becoming one of the biggest scandals in recent NFL history.

The Saints players were told they would get $1,500 for knocking a player out of a game and double that in a playoffs match.

The league says former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and anywhere from 22 to 27 players funded a program in which players were financially rewarded for inflicting injuries on opponents. Reportedly, Saints linebacker Jon Vilma offered $10,000 to a player for knocking quarterback Brett Favre out of the playoff game in 2009.

Williams, now Rams defensive coordinator, has publicly apologized for orchestrating a system of bounties during his time with the Saints. "I want to express my sincere regret and apology to the NFL, Mr. Benson and the Saints fans for my participation in the 'pay for performance' program while I was with the Saints. It was a terrible mistake, and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it."

The Saints will be severely punished by the league office. Consider that in 2007 when Spygate punishment was handed down for the Patriots' Bill Bilichick, he was fined $500,000 and the Patriots were stripped of their first-round draft pick in 2008.
The Saints don't have a first-round pick in the 2012 draft.

Saints coach Sean Payton is involved because he was aware of the bounty program.

If NFL commissioner Roger Goodell really wanted to stir the nest, he'd rescind the Saints' ability to use the franchise tag for two seasons. Most likely, the commissioner will take away the team's draft picks -- second round, third round and maybe more. Payton is expected to be fined heavily and likely suspended for one game. Loomis might be judged harshly considering his oversee capacity.

Williams could be suspended and that would affect the Rams, too.

The Saints have angered some important people and will pay dearly for it.

Is the New Orleans Saints the only team engaging in this practice?  According to one ex-player who is taking up for Greg Williams, think again.  Former safety and Washington Redskin, Matt Bowen has written , "Bounties, cheap shots, whatever you want to call them, they are a part of this game. It is an ugly tradition that was exposed Friday with Williams front and center from his time coaching the defense in New Orleans. But don't peg this on him alone. You will find it in plenty of NFL cities.

Win or else. That's the drill. reports Mickey Loomis offered to make Drew Brees the highest-paid player in the NFL before the 2011 season, but Brees and his agent, Tom Condon, turned it down...Former Saints safety Darren Sharper calls allegations the Saints had a $10 bounty payment for knocking Brett Favre out of the 2010 championship game were "ridiculous." He flatly denied that there were cash payments offered in the locker room to players who injured members of other teams. Sharper did admit that cash was changing hands among members of the Saints defense, but that was limited to interceptions, sacks and other legal  plays of that kind go around the NFL....Players getting bounty payments have gone on the league since Red Grange played...The Saints are in trouble for covering up the practice as much as anything.

by Ed Staton

(Visit Louisiana Sports and check out the spring clearance sale on LSU, Saints jerseys).

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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography. | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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